Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Summary Summary

Well, it’s been a while since the court gave us any interesting summary orders, but here are two that are worth noting.

In United States v. Crawford-Bey, No. 09-3309-cr (2d Cir. December 1, 2010), the defendant challenged on appeal the U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(b)(1) gun possession enhancement. He had given away four guns, in pairs, to other people – conduct that was vaguely related to his drug dealing. But the district court’s finding was quite sparse; it noted only that Crawford-Bey gave away the guns “while he was certainly dealing the drugs.” While the requirements of the enhancement are “not especially difficult to meet,” the court must “be able to specify the basis for its holding.” Here the circuit found the record too thin, and remanded to the district court for “specific findings” on the enhancement.

In United States v. Gomez, No. 09-4412-cr (2d Cir. November 23, 2010), the district court committed plain error in imposing an aggravating role enhancement. It neither adopted the factual findings in the presentence report nor made any specific factual findings of its own. The circuit remanded the case with instructions to either make “specific findings to support the leadership enhancement” or sentence the defendant without it.

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